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The Chinese Aesthetic Tradition$
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Zehou Li

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833077

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833077.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Confucian Humanism

Confucian Humanism

(p.39) Chapter 2 Confucian Humanism
The Chinese Aesthetic Tradition

Li Zehou

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the emergence of Confucian humanism, including the development of a self-consciousness of humanity (the human nature that at once is determined by its biology and transcends it). It first considers Confucius's work of preservation and transmission, which was built on the foundation of the new, self-conscious explanation he provided for the tradition of rites and music. This self-conscious explanation is found in Confucius's discourse on “humaneness.” The chapter also discusses the perfection of the human personality through the arts and music, along with the apprehension of mortality which leads to the “emotionalization of time” in the arts and literature. Progressing from Confucius through Mencius, Xunzi, and the Book of Changes, the chapter explores how the Chinese tradition develops a sense of dynamic, moral (or virile) beauty. It shows that Confucian aesthetics is the foundation and main current of Chinese aesthetics.

Keywords:   beauty, Confucian humanism, humanity, Confucius, humaneness, human personality, mortality, Book of Changes, Confucian aesthetics, Chinese aesthetics

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